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Universal Credit: Monthly Assessment Period

Volume 690: debated on Monday 8 March 2021

What steps her Department is taking to ensure universal credit payments are not reduced in the event of a claimant receiving two payments in the same monthly assessment period as a result of a wage payment being delayed by a bank holiday or weekend. (912996)

We introduced legislation on 16 November so that monthly earnings can be reallocated to another assessment period, meaning that claimants affected by this issue will therefore have one salary payment taken into account in each assessment period. We have also produced guidance to help to ensure that claimants, staff and representatives are aware of different earning patterns and the impact on universal credit payment cycles.

People such as Mr B in my constituency and across the country have been forced to survive with little to no support, all because of an error through the Minister’s Department. Worse still, the pain has been prolonged by pursuing this through the courts. Will the Minister do the right thing and properly recompense those affected, such as Mr B, who suffered as a result of utilities being cut off and consequent costs as a result? And will the Minister meet me to discuss that specific case?

Of course, I will be very happy to meet the hon. Gentleman to discuss that individual case, and I am very sorry to hear of those circumstances. However, the Court of Appeal judgment was very specific and was limited to double earnings for those paid calendar-monthly caused by a non-banking day salary shift. We have chosen to go further and include all the monthly-paid who are affected by double earnings, but the judgment did not require the Department to apply the new arrangements retrospectively.